This list of best Nintendo Switch games is a collection of absolute must-plays for anyone rocking Nintendo's latest console. It's like a checklist for ensuring that you're getting the very best titles to play on your Switch, especially as our collection of best Nintendo Switch games prides itself on offering a little bit of everything. Whether you're new to Switch gaming, or are just making sure you've got the top titles, there's definitely something here for everyone.
We've got you covered for the future too, with our list of all the upcoming Switch games so you know what to add to your wishlist for 2021.
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25. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
What is it? The best Wii U game ever is now one of the best Nintendo Switch games.
Why should you buy it? If you missed out on Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze the first time around thanks to its Wii U exclusivity - which is entirely plausible - you need to catch up on DK's latest adventures. This is a gem of a 2D platformer that's been remastered for Switch, running at 720p HD in handheld mode and at full 1080p HD on the big screen. Donkey Kong has never looked so good. You'll be side-scrolling through a variety of stunning levels, and thanks to a wide range of enemies and challenges, it never feels dull. And if you want our advice, it is best played with the soundtrack on full blast.
24. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
Genre: Adventure / Platformer
What is it? A re-release of the Wii U classic, but with a brand new Mario adventure added in for brilliant good fun in one package.
Why should you buy it? The latest addition to our best Nintendo Switch games list, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury gives you a whole host of Mario fun in one bundle. On the one hand you've got the re-release of the Wii U platformer Super Mario 3D World, which offers a range of inventive platforming levels that you can play through on your own or with up to three friends. It's the game that introduced the Cat Mario power-up and it's wonderfully zany as well as inventive with its worlds. But then you've also got the compact new adventure that is Bowser's Fury. This is more akin to Super Mario Odyssey, and delivers a brand new story to explore and play through as you fight alongside Bowser Jr. to take down Fury Bowser. It takes elements from Super Mario 3D World too, so it's just as loveable too. This is quite the package.
23. Bayonetta 2
What is it? An exhilarating hack ’n’ slash adventure.
Why should you buy it? Originally released as a Wii U exclusive, Bayonetta 2 has now been re-released on Switch, and it means that you now have no excuses not to play it. Although, when the heroine is a witch with magical hair and (literally) killer stilettos, you won’t really need an excuse not to. This Switch release allows you to experience some of the most action-packed, brutal moments from the last decade of gaming wherever you want. Although it’s a shame the resolution is locked to 720p, even on your TV, it doesn’t detract from the fact it’s a better game than it was on Wii U, even if you look at the major frame rate improvements alone. The game looks stunning regardless, and if you’re an action game fan in the slightest you owe it to yourself to play Bayonetta 2. In fact, when you buy Bayonetta 2 you actually go one better, because you get the original game thrown in for free too. Bargain.
What is it? A stunning, watercolour, platformer with a soundtrack that's as smooth as pouring treacle in your ears.
Why should you buy it? Sometimes you just want something a little bit different, and if you're looking to push the indie boat out, then Gris is one for you. In terms of gameplay, it's a wonderful puzzle / platformer that'll have you trying to restore the world of colour, but aesthetically it's one of the most beautiful games we've ever had the privilege to play. It's high up on our list of must-play best Nintendo Switch games for that reason alone. The colour spectrum evolves the more you play, and as you unlock colours and move through the game you'll be introduced to different areas and locales that are just so pretty I can't help but spam the screenshot button. This is a glorious little game that utterly shines on Switch.
21. Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
What is it? A sprawling, decadent openworld RPG filled with dragons, magic, and a bloody civil war with you right at the centre.
Why should you buy it? Let’s ignore the fact that in Skyrim Nintendo Switch you can fight dragons with your bare hands. Let’s also ignore the stunning scenery that oozes character, whether it’s the dismal, unnerving forest of Falkreath or the golden trees swaying near Riften. Don’t pay attention to the grand total of 244 quests, or the DLCs included in the Switch edition that’ll have you journeying to new lands. Instead focus on the motion controls. They’re damn good, allowing you to raise a hand to your chest to block with a shield, or tilt the Joy-Cons to aim where you’re firing a handful of fire. You can even pick locks with your bare hands now, for Talos’ sake (as long as they’re holding Joy-Cons, that is). While we wait for Elder Scrolls 6, Skyrim on the Switch will make you feel connected to Tamriel’s world like never before, and is essential for any RPG lover.
Genre: Action, Adventure
What is it? An adventure where you spend your days tending a shop, and nights fighting through various dungeons to free the town and find things to sell in said shop.
Why should you buy it? If you're looking for the best pixel graphics you've ever seen, you need to check out Moonlighter. This glorious game channels Stardew Valley with that "just one more day" gameplay loop, but instead of tending a farm you're part time dungeon crawler, part time shop keeper. During the day you're figuring out what price to set for each of your hard-earned items, trying to stop thieves from pinching your wares, and saving up enough dosh to rebuild the town. But by night, you're scavenging items to sell in your shop from the dungeons, and working your way towards beating the boss beast that lurks in each one, whilst trying to stay alive. It's addictive gameplay loop means that it's going to be one of those games that eats evenings for breakfast - sometimes literally - and carves a groove into your Switch library. You don't find many games like Moonlighter.
19. Hollow Knight
What is it? An epic, platforming adventure with some of the most beautiful environments we've ever seen.
Why should you buy it? Some are suggesting that Hollow Knight is Dark Souls for beginners. But it's really a Dark Souls with stunning hand-painted aesthetics and a colour palette to make you cry, and a stunning orchestral soundtrack that you just want to bathe in. It's one of our best Nintendo Switch games for a reason folks. In true Metroidvania style, you'll be exploring a labyrinth of underground areas each more distinct than the last, and all filled with strange creatures to fight, and bizarre bugs to befriend. (Yes, really.) As you progress you gain new abilities, grow in power and more devoted to uncovering all of Hollow Knight's secrets.
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18. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
What is it? An excellent port of a Wii U exclusive with some brilliant new additions.
Why is it interesting? Aside from the fact you should buy this for the adorability factor of Toad and Toadette alone, it also happens that Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is one of the best Wii U ports available on Switch. It's a fantastic puzzler where every level takes the form of an interactive puzzle box or diorama that you can traverse, poke, prod, pull, push and generally interact with to unlock its secrets and reach the end goal of the golden star. And each one is beautiful, intricate and just perplexing enough to leave you suitably impressed and a tiny bit chuffed when you finish it. Plus, there are additional challenges that you can go back and dive into too, making this little puzzler stretch further than you originally anticipate. Just wait until you see the new, Switch exclusive, levels based on Super Mario Odyssey. Being able to waddle through little box-shaped version of Odyssey's Sand, Metro, Cascade, and Luncheon Kingdoms is sheer joy, and they are just as beautifully executed as the other levels available too. It all contributes to ensuring it's always high up on our best Nintendo Switch games list.
Genre: Building simulation
What is it? A beautifully blocky, open-world, creative sandbox for you to build, destroy, and mine anything you want.
Why should you buy it? Because even if you’ve played it before, Minecraft on Switch means ultra portable, buildable delight. You can sit down with a friend to play together on the local network, which is ridiculously simple to set up - just put one of their Joy-Cons on your Switch once your world is loaded up, press +, and hand it back to them. You can also play online if you're not eager to go exploring alone, or try out one of its mini-games: Battle (straightforwards PvP), Tumble (a race that involves shovels or snowballs), or Glide (get to the end of the course asap). A plethora of achievements makes for pleasantly directed playing as they give you something to aim for, but when it's comes down to it you never feel like you've quite beaten Minecraft even if you've been playing for tens of hours. It's an exercise in discovery and ambition, with structures that previously only existed in your wildest dreams suddenly viable - as long as you have the resources. Whether you're tenacious, easygoing, or just rabidly curious, think of Minecraft as a gracious host that will make you and anyone you choose to co-op with delirious with happiness. Either that, or you'll get your hands on some TNT and will make everything go bang. Which is also fun.
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16. Octopath Traveler
What is it? A modern turn-based Japanese RPG inspired by old-school graphics.
Why should you buy it? What Octopath Traveler really excels at is scale. Whereas any other game would put all of its focus onto a single protagonist, Square Enix's JRPG tells the story of eight - yes, eight - heroes, and all of their beautifully told stories are given the same gravitas, which is quite the feat. It's a wonderful collection of stories, told in a world that is inspired by JRPGs of old, particularly in terms of art style, and its combat is some of the best turned-based systems the JRPG world has to offer. If any of this intrigues you, then Octopath Traveler needs to be on your wishlist immediately. Or, preferably, under your thumbs.
15. Super Mario Maker 2
Genre: Action, Platformer
What is it? The game that lets you make your own Super Mario games
Why should you buy it? Basically three games in one, Super Mario Maker 2 is all about letting you mess about and infuse your imagination. You can play through the extensive story mode provided by the developers, or you can create your own Super Mario levels from scratch, using all the elements you know and love from the classic Ninty series. It's drag and drop stuff, incredibly straight forward to get to grips with, but offers enough complexity that you'll be discovering new combinations for years to come. And when your creative juices run dry? Check out the plethora of levels created by your fellow gamers. It's a game that gives you endless fun.
14. Stardew Valley
What is it? A cute, pixel-art farming simulator that has stolen the hearts of most of the GamesRadar+ office.
Why should you buy it? There's a reason Stardew Valley was one of the most highly anticipated titles coming to the Nintendo Switch. This adorable, simple life, farming simulator is the perfect game for taking advantage of the Switch's portability. Farming at home, farming on the go, farming wherever the heck you fancy farming. It's a fantastic game for whiling away the evenings with a spot of farming, mining, animal rearing, fishing and other super relaxed activites. Trust us, you'll soon be as immersed in the world of Stardew as we are.
13. Splatoon 2
Genre: Third-person shooter
What is it? A sequel that brings more multiplayer ink-splatting madness than the Wii U exclusive original and more Splatfests too.
Why should you buy it? If you missed out on the Wii U exclusive that was Splatoon, the sequel, suprisingly named Splatoon 2, is one of the Switch's best games. It again sees you teaming up with your fellow inklings – that's half squid, half human – to try and paint the most of the map your team's colour in the multiplayer. It's easy to pick up and play, and although it doesn't feel totally fresh anymore as it's a sequel, it's still a refreshing take on the traditional shooter. There's also a robust single-player Hero Mode and a new Horde-esque mode known as Salmon Rush that is dangerously addictive and devilishly difficult on the highest levels.
12. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
What is it? If you mix Super Mario with XCOM you basically get Mario + Rabbids, a strange strategy hybrid with tons of charm.
Why should you buy it? Don't be put off by the XCOM comment, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a strategy game that works incredibly well even if you're not a fan of strategy games. It features brilliant, polished game mechanics that are introduced in stages to let you get to grips with the game's surprisingly deep tactical gameplay. But it mixes that gameplay with real knowledge of the Super Mario universe and wraps it up in a level of detail and graphical quality that you can regularly mistake it for a Nintendo-made title. It's an absolute joy.
11. Paper Mario: The Origami King
What is it? Paper Mario is back with its first series entry on Switch, and it's a fantastic romp.
Why should you buy it? Paper Mario: The Origami King might not be the RPG you'd hope for, but it is special. Nintendo has tapped right into the fun, light-hearted spirit that has always pervaded the Paper Mario series, and also introduced a tonne of new features including a ring-system for battling. It'll have you twisting and turning your enemies into place before whacking them with hammers or stomping them with your boots, while Boss battles see stationary taking a dark turn. Ultimately, this is a fun, light-hearted celebration of Super Mario with a strong story, great humour and brilliant characters
10. Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
What is it? Peak old-school Zelda reimagined for the Nintendo Switch.
Why should you buy it? If you want a slice of more classic, dungeon-focused gameplay on the Switch then you need Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening in your life. It takes the Game Boy Colour game - Link's Awakening DX - and gives it a fresh art style, a chibi-esque toy village vibe that makes this one of the best looking games on Switch – and the most adorable. In that way it manages to feel like a brand new game, while still maintaining the essence and story of the quirky original.
9. Luigi's Mansion 3
What is it? Luigi's latest spooky adventure, but this time in a haunted hotel.
Why should you buy it? Proof that the green plumber can be the star of the show, Luigi's Mansion 3 takes you on a journey full of memborable spooks, creative puzzles, fantastic level design and charm that oozes from ever pore. Oh, and have we talked about Gooigi? Luigi's goo-filled compadre that can slip straight into places the human Luigi just can't? Well, it all combines to find the right balance between new and old, delivering a refreshing spin on the Luigi's Mansion formula. Newcomers and longtime fans are sure to delight in exploring everything the hotel has to offer.
8. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
What is it? The latest entry in the Super Smash Bros series - and the first for Switch - delivers more characters and levels than ever before.
Why should you buy it? Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is pulling out all the stops when it comes to characters. With a whopping 74 characters available to unlock, this is definitely the busiest roster of them all. That total includes 11 brand new characters - and that's before you've even started on the DLC. That means a whole new set of fighters to learn in the heat of battle, but thankfully this is the best Super Smash Bros. title yet, both in terms of its glorious good looks, but also in the way the stages are detailed and animated, fighters move much more naturally and with additional flare, and the KO animations are more satisfying than ever. Plus, there's even a surprisingly meaty single-player story to dive into. This is quite the package.
7. Pokemon Sword and Shield
What is it? The first installments in the eighth generation of the Pokemon series
Why should you buy it? This is a seriously memorable Pokemon adventure with a story that delivers enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, steeped in the myths and legends of the Pokemon version of the British Isles. There's a loveable cast of characters, and impeccable attention to detail in the Galar region both visually and in terms of the regional dialogue. It's a great way to start the next core generation of Pokemon games. Pokemon Sword and Shield is the most compelling Pokemon world to date.
6. Tetris 99
Genre: Battle royale
What is it? Tetris, but battle royale. No, I'm not joking.
Why should you buy it? If you love Tetris and think you're better at playing it than anyone else, then you need to try Tetris 99. It's an insane take on battle royale where you play Tetris simultaneously along with 98 other people, but every two or more lines you clear you send as junk to other players, either at random, to the people closest to a KO, to your attackers or to those doing the best so far. It's mad, fast paced and turns the zen Tetris stacking into a frenzy that will have you screaming at your Switch. It might be the best thing ever.
5. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Genre: Adventure / Strategy
What is it? The latest in the Fire Emblem series, where you must nurture students of one of three prestigious houses through their studies to tactical, turn-based battles on a continent on the verge of war.
Why should you buy it? The future of Fódlan rests on the decisions that you make, and that alone serves as quite the selling point. But, in all seriousness, if you're already a fan of the series, Fire Emblem: Three Houses this is the best to date. It realises a new, more meaningful direction for the series where stories are prioritised over combat. The challenging, tight, turn-based combat is still there, of course, but it's not all that Fire Emblem is anymore. This is an epic evolution for the series.
4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
What is it? The best version of Mario Kart 8 money can buy.
Why should you buy it? Apart from the telling clue in the line above, the Nintendo experience isn't complete until you've enraged your closest friends by beating them at Mario Kart. It's a rite of passage on every Nintendo console. This immediate, relatable, pick-up-and-play fun is exactly what the Switch was created for. Up to eight people can locally, letting you pretend that you're in a Nintendo lifestyle advert, and it's a novelty that two people can play anywhere using a single console. But best of all, this is the ultimate version of an already amazing game, and perhaps the most clear and brilliant example of how great the Switch could be.
3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
What is it? The first Animal Crossing game for Switch, with Tom Nook taking you to a deserted island to build a brand new life.
Why should you buy it? Not many games offer you the chance to build something that will last an entire console generation, but Animal Crossing: New Horizons does just that. After Nook whisks you away to your very own tropical island - for a fee, of course - it's down to you to build a life there. You'll invite new residents to move to your sandy shores, grow local business, create a community, and craft an island you can all be proud of. Running in line with real-world days, Animal Crossing: New Horizons isn't one to be rushed, but it is the idyllic getaway we all need right now.
2. Super Mario Odyssey
What is it? Mario's biggest 3D adventure yet, taking him all over the globe for some hat-themed adventures.
Why should you buy it? If you're only buying two games for the Nintendo Switch, it has to be Zelda and it has to be Mario. Thanks to Mario's new friend Cappy, Super Mario Odyssey manages to successfully bring the series up to date by gifting Mario a ton of new moves. And by moving out of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario feels fresh and new while still retaining every ounce of its nostalgia and retro charm - there are still ground pounds and green pipes don't worry. This is very much Mario as his best self so far, and his latest adventure looks absolutely beautiful on the Switch.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Genre: Action RPG
What is it? The latest entry in Nintendo's venerable fantasy franchise, which embraces its own history as often as it upends it
Why should you buy it? This is, perhaps more than anything, the biggest showpiece for what the Nintendo Switch can do. Breath of the Wild takes ideas originally introduced in the first Legend of Zelda game along with concepts expanded on by Skyrim and other modern open-world RPGs and Nintendoizes them, distilling them into purest parts, and polishes the hell out of them. It's a world of wonder, and for the first time what feels like ages, it actually lets you experience that wonder without beating you over the head with hours of tutorials and incessant text boxes re-explaining everything you already know. Playing it on the TV is a treat, but being able to lift the Switch from the dock and take a game of this size and scope wherever you want is a perfect summation of the Switch's potential.
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Find out what's coming out in 2018 and beyond with our list of upcoming Nintendo Switch games!